As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Bird-brained council bosses to spend £100K on raptor to guard rubbish dump

By Joe Stenson
March 25, 2016

FEATHER-brained council bosses are spending £100,000 on a bird of prey to guard a pile of rubbish.

North Ayrshire Council have agreed to pay £104,164 of public cash to a private company to have a raptor “guard” a single landfill site from sea gulls.

The bird of prey will work “full time” shifts of eight hours a day, five days a week, according to officials.

The council admits the cost of putting a bird on the payroll equates to £12.50 an hour – twice the minimum wage.

The contract’s publication comes at a time when North Ayrshire Council have proposed over £2m of cuts which could include closing primary school kitchens and slashing the hours of some workers. It is not yet known what kind of bird will guard the tip

The move was branded as an “astonishing” waste of resources by the council’s critics.

The contract which the council have awarded reads: “North Ayrshire Council requires to appoint a provider of raptor control at Shewalton Landfill Site.”

The contract period will be for a period of two years with an option to extended for a further two years subject to satisfactory performance and budget availability.”

Shewalton Landfill Site is in Irvine, on the west coast of North Ayrshire, and the site is generally used by rubbish trucks to dump household waste.

It is not known exactly which breed of raptor will be used to patrol the landfill site, but similar operations have employed hawks and eagles.

Eben Wilson – of Taxpayer Scotland – said: “This is an astonishing amount of money for this service.

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